How to Learn From Books

At some point in your career you hit the educational wall. This can occur due to maxing out the training available or simply being stuck at the same career point for a long period of time. If taking an e-learning course or heading back to college isn't your thing or part of your budget, you can still continue your lifelong learning using good old fashioned books. Here are some tips to help you conquer print and get the most out of book learning.

Do Your Homework

There are a plethora of books out there pertaining to just about any career under the sun. Do a little research online or at your local library to find out which books will suit your needs best. During your search, be open-minded. New perspectives on subjects you may already be familiar with can help you see things from a different angle. 

Take Your Time

Taking your time to get through each book is important. You need a rest period in between sections to absorb. Manage your time by setting aside an hour or so a day just for reading. Don't overdo it; speed reading will not allow you to get the most out of your learning experience. 

Write Summaries

Statistics show that writing summaries of what you have read will reinforce key points of information 50% better than reading alone. After each section, write a summary or a perspective piece to help you retain the information provided and apply it to your specific career.

Join a Book Group

Interaction with others during your learning process is essential. Your local library should have information regarding reading and writing groups, when they meet, and how to join. If joining a group is out of your reach, try finding one online. Joining a book club or group will not only give you insight to other's perspectives on the material, it will also help you stay motivated.

Regulate Your Reading Environment

You simply cannot absorb reading material when distracted. Make sure your family or roommate is onboard with your much needed quiet study time requirements. In addition, shut off your phone, computer, TV, and stereo. Audio and visual distractions significantly reduce your ability to pay attention to what you are reading.

Stick to It

No matter how tedious a book may get, stick with it; even if you must scan the information to get to the meaty goodness. For books that are exceptionally hard to get through, make an outline using the table of contents. As you progress, check off sections that you completed, this will provide you with a much needed confidence boost.


Even if you are not able to join up with a reading club, discuss what you are learning with friends. Talking about interesting information in the book can help reiterate what you have leaned and gain outsiders' feedback. This is almost as effective as summarizing information, as it allows you to "work things out" you may not have understood during your reading through interaction.

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Now that you have all the tools to get started, grab a book from your local library, bookstore, or download one on your eReader. The first step to learning from books is getting your hands on an interesting one. One advantage to learning from books is the ability to work at your own pace, just remember to stick with it - you won't regret it.


Image via Caelum ET Terra







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